Jun 21 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩  Hello Sailor

The Granary (Leith Festival) Sat 14 – Sun 15 June 2014

Following its award-winning debut at the Brighton Festival in May – Later’s Best Theatre Performance 2014, no less – one man show Thief makes its wayward progress towards what should, if there’s any justice, be a sold-out run during this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Matt Robertson as Sailor. Photo © Bill Mackellar

Matt Robertson as Sailor. Photo © Bill Mackellar

Written and directed by the Edinburgh Evening News’ arts editor Liam Rudden, this is a story of Sailor, the illegitimate son of a prostitute who has taken up his mother’s profession in the bars, dives and darkest corners of the most squalid ports around the world.

Sailor lives for robbery, seeing sex as just a means to an end – except that, as he slowly opens up to the audience, it begins to appear that, for him, being raped while in prison is perversely a rare opportunity for intimacy and an understanding that he is still alive.

Sailor is well aware of his talents and is ready to flaunt them; so too is this production, launched with a naked Matt Robertson running onto the stage as Sailor flees from an unseen punter who had proved deliciously more dangerous than originally expected.

Robertson is undoubtedly a fine example of lean, sexy manhood – think a Jean Paul Gaultier seaman but with rougher edges — but its the strength and subtlety of his performance which entrances the most. As he progresses through scenes in Sailor’s life, Robertson works to make his audience increasingly enamoured by this old-before-his-time young man who’s desperate to hold onto his self-worth while doing whatever’s necessary to survive, even if – on occasions – Sailor seems determined to blot out that life through drugs or the brief ecstasy of self-harm.

Inspired by the work of Jean Genet, Sailor carries certain lyrical pretensions, playing with the expected relationship between an audience and performer. Simply enough staged – although with an initially distracting soundscape to indicate location, the script is perhaps just too dramatically and morally neat in its plotting. Yet, undoubtedly, Sailor — thanks to Rudden and Robertson — is not someone to be forgotten in a hurry.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
Pleasance Cabaret Bar (Pride Scotia)
Thur 19 – Friday 20 June 2014

Thief at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Hill Street Solo Theatre, 19 Hill Street, EH2 3JP (Venue 41)
Thur 31 July – Sun 24 August (not 12 August) 2014
Daily 9.30pm.
Age advice: 16+
Detials and tickets from:
Production website:


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